TEMPORARY TRAFFIC LIGHT INSTALLED AT COCO PLUM BRIDGE IN MIDDLE KEYS

After months of managing one-lane traffic flow management stop signs, a temporary signal has been installed at the Coco Plum Bridge. Work is due to start this month and officials want to ensure the safety of contractors and motorists on the bridge. ALEX RICKERT / Weekly Keys

The City of Marathon has installed a temporary traffic light to replace stop signs managing the flow of single-lane traffic on the Coco Plum Bridge. The traffic light alternates two-way traffic—coming from the Overseas Highway and the Coco Plum neighborhood—on the single-lane span.

“The maximum a motorist should wait would be 21 to 60 seconds,” said public works director Carlos Solis.

Since the lights were installed, the timing is changed to deal with excessive delays in both directions. The tweaks should resolve any issues encountered during the first few days after installation.

Solis said the traffic light is an added precaution for motorists and contractors as construction on the bridge replacement will begin soon, most likely before the end of November. “It will be safer for the public and safer for the contractors who will be physically present,” he said.

In April, the city of Marathon got just over $1 million from a federal fund to replace the Coco Plum Bridge, when it was determined that the repair was not feasible. The federal funding means the city will be able to replace the bridge immediately, rather than making temporary repairs while waiting for multi-year funding cycles from the state Department of Transportation.

The repairs are made possible by the 2021 $350 billion US bailout (ARPA). After state distributions, approximately $130 billion is distributed among cities and counties.

Eligible uses of funds include revenue replacement for government services impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency, such as salaries for essential municipal employees and, as is the case with the bridge, infrastructure investments .

The city of Marathon hopes to complete the reconstruction by the end of 2022.

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